Father of Slain Reporter Alison Parker Urges Congress to Stand Up to 'Gun Lobby'

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By Phil Helsel

The father of a young television reporter fatally shot during an ambush on live television two weeks ago on Thursday called on Congress to stand up to the gun lobby and enact common sense firearms reforms.

"The overwhelming majority of Americans agree with common-sense reforms," Andy Parker, whose 24-year-old daughter Alison was killed along with another journalist in the Aug. 28 attack near Roanoke, Virginia.

"But too many members of Congress remain in the pocket of the gun lobby, and that has got to change," he said.

Parker spoke at a rally on Capitol Hill held by Everytown for Gun Safety, a coalition of gun-reform groups. He was joined on stage by Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the two U.S. senators from that state, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats.

Related: Gunman Fired 17 Times in Attack on Journalists

The group urged Congress to revisit a failed 2013 vote on legislation requiring background checks for online gun sales and purchases at gun shows, The Associated Press reported.

Alison Parker, a reporter for Roanoke television station WDBJ, and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were fatally shot when a disgruntled former reporter for the station, Vester Flanagan, opened fire on the pair during a live interview. Flanagan later took his own life as police closed in.

Flanagan, who was fired by WDBJ in 2013, legally bought the Glock handgun he used in the killings, officials said, and there appears to be nothing in his past that would have prevented him from buying a gun.

Parker called for stricter gun laws shortly after the murders. McAuliffe, a Democrat, spoke out against a lack of background checks at gun shows Thursday, and referenced the massacre at Virginia Tech. He said research shows 85 percent of Americans support background checks.

"It's time for these folks behind me to get some guts and to stand up for their citizens and vote for background checks," McAuliffe said, referring to Congress.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence estimates that 40 percent of gun sales don't require background checks.